Country and Culture

The culture of Saudi Arabia is a rich one that has been shaped by its Islamic heritage, its historical role as an ancient trade center, and its Bedouin traditions. January 14, 1902 marks the foundation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a unified state by the late King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al-Saud. On this date in 1902, and in a daring battle with 60 of his companions, King Abdul Aziz captured Riyadh. Thus commenced the unification process of the Kingdom, demarcation of its boarders and establishment of normal relations with all world countries.

Geography: Saudi Arabia lies at the crossroads of three continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. It extends from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba on the west to the Arabian Gulf in the east. To the north it borders Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait, and to the south, it borders Yemen and the Sultanate of Oman. To the east lie the Arabian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain.

Language: Arabic is the official language in Saudi Arabia. Arabic is spoken by almost 200 million people in more than 20 countries. It is the language of the Qur’an, the Holy Book of Islam, the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and of Arabic poetry and literature.It is believed that the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula were the first to use the Arabic language. Following the expansion of education, the number of Saudis who speak other languages like English, French and German have increased. English is widely used and it is the second language that a visitor to Saudi Arabia can use for communication.

Saudi capital: Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia and  is the most densely populated city as its population exceeds four million, a matter that makes it a huge commercial and industrial city. It includes a number of historical centers, museums, archeological sites as well as Qasr Al-Hukm (The government palace), the ministries and diplomatic missions.

Makkah is the most important city in Saudi Arabia where the holy Haram and Kaaba are located. Millions of Muslims from all over the world come to this holy city every year for Hajj (pilgrimage). It is the place where the holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed.

Madinah is the second most important city and is also the city to which Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) migrated. Madinah also contains the Prophet’s Mosque which is visited by millions of Muslims all over the year. There are other important cities in Saudi Arabia. Jeddah, on the Red Sea, is the Kingdom’s main sea port. Jubail and Yanbu are two important industrial cities in Saudi Arabia. Jeddah: The gateway to the two Holy Cities Jeddah’s long history as port community and as a host city to pilgrims has created a rich, distinctive cultural heritage. This culture is physically embodied by mosques, inscriptions in the Eastern hills, historic buildings, public art, historic public spaces and infrastructure, all of which contribute to the city’s social and economic urban life. Jeddah’s historic buildings, particularly the towering coral and stone houses with their distinctive Roshan adorned facades, are a symbol of the city’s identity and heritage. Many of Jeddah’s known cultural heritage sites are within the traditional core area of the city, the Al Balad area, and the surrounding unplanned settlements (old town) where the traditional urban forms and houses remain. While these places are more widely known, other significant heritage and archaeological sites exist but have not been comprehensively identified and catalogued. These include the original Royal Palace, mosques, madrassas, other religious buildings and traditional cemeteries. Jeddah has religious duty and historic role as the principal pilgrimage gateway to the two Holy Cities of Makkah and Madinah.